Twelve Tuareg killed on Mali-Niger border

Twelve tuareg, including children and elderly people, were killed in clashes on the Mali border with Niger, sources said Friday, a day after the incident.

Unrest between jihadists and two Tuareg-led armed groups is common in the region.

Sixteen gunmen appeared on motorbikes outside the town of Anderamboukane and “opened fire on civilians” Thursday, according to statements from the Tuareg groups, the pro-government Gatia and MSA.

“Among the victims are young children and elderly people,” they added.

A Mali official source speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed the death toll to AFP.

An MSA patrol gave chase to the assailants, saying it had placed four “out of harm’s way” while losing a fighter of their own in capturing equipment and motorbikes from the attackers.

Sources from the UN’s MINUSMA peacekeeping operation said on April 12 they had received “very serious” information that “summary executions of at least 95 people” had occurred during anti-jihadist operations in the northeastern Menaka region carried out by “a coalition of armed groups” including Gatia and MSA.

Both groups denied a claim they dubbed “scandalous and outrageous.”

France intervened militarily in Mali in 2013 to help government forces drive al Qaeda-linked jihadists out of the north.

But large tracts of the country remain lawless despite a peace accord signed with ethnic Tuareg leaders in mid-2015 aimed at isolating the jihadists.

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